X-Men movies have become increasingly complex, just knowing where they fit in the time-line requires a three year course at Uni.
Having attended at least two lectures, we believe this fits in as the third movie in the “new” time-line after “First Class” and “Days of Future Past”. Most viewers don’t mind or care where these stories fit and even the director Bryan Singer struggles to explain some of the logic.
With that out of the way, the film further confuses by starting in ancient Egypt, always the favoured period for any film-maker wanting to evoke some majesty and old world mystique. En Subah Nur/Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) is in a mid “live forever transition procedure” when quite literally his world falls about him.
Many hundreds of years later he is awakened and is not happy, embedding people in walls and floors with his power, whilst turbo charging followers with nascent powers into fully fledged bad guys “Angel” Ben Hardy, “Storm” (Alexandra Shipp) and “Psylocke” (Olivia Munn).
Meanwhile the X-Men crew are assembling under “Professor Charles Xavier” (James McAvoy) tutelage. “The Beast” (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) represent the old guard with “Cyclops” “Tye Sheridan”, “Night Crawler” (Kodi Smit-McPhee) all investigating their burgeoning superpowers.
We also have Magneto (Michael Fassbender) attempting to live the quiet life but pulled back into the fray following an event that changes his world view. The film also weaves in scenes “set” in Auschwitz, which similar to the previous use in an earlier film is somewhat questionable. Mixing this type of escapist fictional entertainment with real world scenarios, remains an odd movie choice.
Story wise, bad guy wanting to take over the world, good guys trying to stop him. The film builds on the ultra slow motion “Quicksilver” (Evan Peters) popular scene from the earlier film with a spectacular rescue set to a timeless Eurythmics score. Later in the story we get to meet a special cameo character who escapes from a facility after slicing and dicing his captives, could be a franchise there….
The bad guys do not get much to do, Olivia Munn is rendered almost completely mute and none of the Apocalypse acolytes get much screen time after being introduced. As usual we get scenes of mass city destruction with no feeling millions of people dying is even considered. Of course the film heads to a classic showdown where apparently indestructible characters can be destroyed if you really bash them hard enough.
Admittedly fun and most actors retain credibility, Mcavoy, Isaac and Fassbender getting most of the heavy lifting with Mystique largely sidelined.
Undemanding entertainment, neither as good or bad as you might expect, depending on expectations.
This rich seam of superhero entertainment is beginning to feel mined out and bereft of new ideas.